If someone, dare I say a publisher, ever reads my crime novel and criticises it for the lack of ‘sights, smells and sounds’ in the story, I am the one who should come to a grisly end.
One thing I’m not short of for inspiration are real life incidents/descriptions/vignettes. I have an entire notebook full of them: taken from where I live, from using the Luas (the Red, not the Green line!), walking the canal, travelling on the buses, etc, not to mention my day job.
This morning was beautiful: bright, fresh and sunny. As I walked to the shops I turned a corner and was met by a tree covering much of the footpath outside houses. It had obviously been kicked down somewhere and abandoned. Near it was a broken shoulder of vodka and the usual scattering of smashed glass and rubbish.
Not long after I came across six or seven refuse sacks dumped against a wall and a little fire was blazing, smoke billowing upwards. Two kids were hanging around sheepishly. People walked by heads bowed. I hung around for a while. Hardly anyone blinked an eye.
Just down the road, outside the local corporation waste management yard more refuse sacks were placed outside the gate. I see the same every Saturday morning. One day I was walking past with my kids and an older woman threw a plastic bag full of rubbish onto other bags and walked on, nattering away to a friend.
These are just examples – and I have to stress just small ones – of casual everday incidents in many parts of the city, no doubt replicated elsewhere. Casual anti-social behaviour and casual dumping, all in broad daylight. A normal part of life and the environment children, including my own, have to grow up in.
My novel, at its heart, concerns children, living in such a community. All the more reason the story should be, ahem, littered with sights, smells and sounds.